Title- Whatever it takes 10/?
Show/Ship- Heroes, Sylar/Claire, Peter/Emma
Disclaimer- I have magic powers. You will believe I own it all.
Summary- It all becomes too much for Emma.
A/N- Quick Question. I am loving working up their relationship slowly, letting things progress naturally but reviews are traipsing off and I'm wondering if i'm losing peoples interest. Is it too slow going for you? Are you quietly screaming, get on with the romance already!! Please let me know. I've made this twice as long just in case anyway. Enjoy!
When Emma had asked Claire to be her maid of honor or chief bridesmaid, she hadn't had much clue what that would entail. Unlike most girls her age Claire hadn't had many close friends... at least none that went on to live to tell the tale. By her age most girls had at least one or two friends marry. But Claire had managed to get to this point in her life without ever being a bridesmaid.
She'd only ever been to one wedding and that was as a guest at Ando and Kimiko's wedding.
She'd had no idea of the amount of work that she would have to do.
Everything from organizing the bridal shower and bachelorette party to talking Emma out of running away. She was currently sat in the living room holding a paper bag in front of Emma as the woman worked herself into a panic.
Emma had been sorting through invitations and making lists of what needed to be done and she'd taken one look at the table full of pieces of paper and flipped.
“I can't do this,” she babbled, her hands flying all over the place. “Angela sent me a list of wedding guests longer than my arm. I don't know that many people!” She grabbed at the bag and took a few deep breaths before gesturing to the long guest list Angela Petrelli had insisted was essential for a Petrelli wedding.
“We wouldn't want to offend anyone, would we?” she'd said with a condescending smile as she handed the list over to Emma. She'd cast an eye over the table and hesitated. “Are you sure you don't require more help, dear? I know a great wedding planner called Martique who would-”
“No,” Emma had insisted that she was fine.
She was fine. She could handle this.
“I can't handle this,” she moaned. Claire crouched beside her.
“That's what I'm here for,” she said soothingly. “Now, gimme the list.”
She scanned the names on the piece of paper, her frown growing. Then she took one deep breath and tore the paper in half.
Emma's eyes widened and she squeaked.
“Whose wedding is it?”
Emma fluttered her hand wildly, her nose inside the paper bag.
“Whose wedding is it?” Claire insisted.
“Do you know any of these people?” she held up the torn sheets and Emma shook her head.
“Then who gives a rats ass if they're offended?” Claire tossed the paper over her shoulder and the sheets floated to the ground, officially dismissed.
She sat back against the table and patted Emma's hand. “Listen Emma, you are marrying a great guy. A great guy who doesn't care if the drapes match the linen, or if a senator is sat by a taxi-driver. He doesn't even care if you show up in jeans and shirt. Peter wants to marry you. This-” she waved her hand over the table, “doesn't matter to him. It's not worth getting so upset about. It's one day. One day where you'll probably be too flustered to notice whether the embroidered napkins are blue, green or covered in mini-marshmallows.”
Emma laughed at that and pulled the bag away.
“So what is it?” Claire asked gently.
“I don't think Angela likes me,” she admitted. “I wanted to get this right to make her accept me.”
Claire sighed. “I don't think Angela likes me and I'm related. Sometimes I don't think she even likes Peter,” she gave her a sad smile. “She's never gonna be that sweet little mother-in-law and by bowing to her you're only making yourself miserable. I should know, I tried. I don't think I'll ever be anything to her other than Nathan's little mistake.” The mention of her bio-dad made her sigh heavily. “And Nathan was never exactly Mr. Warm and Fuzzy. With him and Mrs. Petrelli I was always wondering where they were gonna stick the knife. But Peter's not like that. He loves you and he'd hate that you're tearing yourself up trying to get her to like you. Just give it up and make yourself happy, at least that way you know you'll win with Peter.”
Emma nodded slowly and leaned her head against Claire's shoulder. “Thank you.”
“It's my job as head bridesmaid,” Claire grinned, her face brightening. “It's kinda like being a cheerleader, except I don't have to do as much dancing.”
“Maybe one day I'll do the same for you?” Emma offered.
“Unlikely, but thanks for the offer.”
Emma frowned, watching Claire closely. “Why not?”
Claire just shrugged uncomfortably. “I guess I can't imagine getting married, or anyone wanting to marry me.”
Emma's look was patently disbelieving.
“Oh, come on I'm the freak girl who can't die and won't age. I can't get hurt.” Her tone was pained and she was glad that Emma couldn't hear it. “I also won't ever be normal. Guys don't want that.”
“Is that what George said?” Emma laid a hand on her arm. George had been Claire's attempt at dating outside the 'specials'.
He was tall, good-looking, athletic and completely into Claire. At least he had been until she'd sliced her arm and spontaneously regenerated in front of him. Then he had been tall, good-looking, athletic and completely freaked out. Claire finally spilled her secret to him, hoping that he'd be cool with it.
He hadn't been.
He'd called her...well, needless to say she'd called the Haitian and removed George's memories of their relationship. Her dad managed not to say 'I told you so', but it was a close thing.
It had been her one and only attempt at dating since things fell apart with Gretchen and it had been a disaster. It had also just rammed home to her the fact that she was never going to be that normal girl with a normal boyfriend. She'd spent hours crying; not over George, but over the fact that everything she'd ever wanted was never going to happen.
She was never going to walk down the aisle to a man who adored her above all else and would be with her until the day she died. She was never going to grow old with someone and have his kids and god, it hurt.
She clenched her fists and forced a smile at Emma.
“George was a jerk. No, I guess marriage and all that won't be for me. I can be a super-aunt to all your kids and grand-kids and great grand-kids and I'll--” She bit her lip and pushed away the lump in her throat.
“You won't be alone forever,” Emma inclined her head. “Sylar won't die.”
A burst of hysterical laughter erupted and Claire smiled. “You know, a few weeks ago that really wouldn't have made me feel any better.”
Emma smiled. “And now?”
Claire shrugged uncomfortably. “Well, I guess he's not the evil villain I've been painting him as.”
“You two talked?”
Claire nodded. “Yeah and you'll be pleased to know I've decided to give him a chance.”
“Really?” Emma's jaw dropped. “A date?”
“What?” Claire squeaked. “No! I meant a chance to prove he's not evil.”
“Not a date. Not that he'd want a date anyway, right?”
She wasn't looking for an answer and Emma wasn't going to give her one.
Claire shuddered. “No. No way.”
Emma wasn't pleased with how emphatic Claire was about that. Emma may not have known scary Sylar but she knew the man he was now and she knew how deeply he felt and cared for Claire. She'd been willing to wait for Claire to wake up and see it herself, but the girl was still in denial and it was hurting Sylar. Emma couldn't stand for that. She'd told Peter off for meddling, for throwing them together when he should just leave well enough alone. But that was before she realized how oblivious Claire was. Maybe she should push, just a little.
“Sylar is my friend Claire,” she admonished, “he's a good man. He saved me when he didn't have to. Give him a shot.”
“I said I was giving him a chance,” Claire pointed out.
“You seemed to be getting on okay with him at the faire.”
Claire smiled a little at the memory. “I never knew he could be funny. I mean actual humor and not 'I'll-cut-your-head-open' kind of funny. I had a good time talking to him.” She shook herself, ignoring the knowing look on Emma's face. “But that was it.”
“Maybe you shouldn't be too quick to count him out,” Emma signed. “He is an attractive man and he'll be around forever- like you. If you let yourself you could come to care for him. You might be surprised.”
“I'm not saying he isn't attractive in a scary kinda way,” Claire admitted. “But there is just way too much history there. Besides there's no way Sylar would ever be interested in me.” She pushed away the image of those eyes boring intently into hers. “Besides even if we both lost our minds and went there, he's not exactly the marriage and two point four kids type. Can you imagine Sylar as a dad?”
“Yes,” Emma said simply.
And the weird thing was that Claire could too. She'd come to visit Peter once and seen him with Monty and Simon, her step-brothers. He'd been rough-housing and allowing them to clamber all over him. She'd panicked that he would hurt them, even though Peter had put her mind at ease. But now, thinking back, he had seemed like a natural.
Claire shook her head. “I'd be happy to settle into a sort of friendship with the guy where he isn't trying to eat my brain. Who knows it might be nice. And it'll be kinda cool to have someone to talk to over coffee a million years in the future,” she frowned, “provided they have coffee a million years in the future. Oh, God, what will I do when the coffee runs out?” Her eyes widened. “Or chocolate?”
The truly horrified look on her face caused Emma to break out in peels of giggles. “Puts table decorations in perspective.”
Claire grinned as she realized that she had succeeded in her mission of making Emma feel better. “Ready to tackle this mess now?”
Emma nodded bravely and clambered to her feet, putting her hands on her hips as she surveyed the table.
“If we divide the jobs between the four of us then we can get it done super-fast,” Claire said. “You'll be overall decision maker. You decide on the guest list, the dresses, the color scheme, the menu and the order of service.” She handed Emma a sheaf of papers. “I'll take the decorative side of things- that means sorting invitations, favors, parties and table tops, flowers.” She grabbed another sheaf. “Peter is good with people so he can deal with the hiring; venue, catering, entertainment. Sylar is a master time keeper so he can set the schedule and ensure things are running along. He's also good at intimidating so he can go along with Peter and get the best prices on things.”
She paused and turned to Emma who was watching her curiously. “What?”
“You're very good at organizing.”
Claire blushed. “Kinda had to be as a cheerleader. You had to schedule studying in with pep rallies and bake sales, making sure your GPA didn't fall as you did choreography for air-heads. Dad always said I could make worms march in formation.” She smiled serenely. “One of my many skills.”
“Well, you have a career as a wedding planner. Might even be better than Martique.”
Emma had a wonderful idea but she needed to talk it over with Peter before she could ask Claire. It would help all of them, her, Peter, Claire. And especially Sylar.
Maybe meddling wouldn't be so bad, after all.
The Petrelli's had certain traditions that couldn't be broken. Angela made sure of that and, although brunch was never one of them, she had decided that some sort of family meal should be established and so she invited everyone around for a family dinner one Friday evening.
Peter insisted he had to work. Claire insisted she had other plans and Sylar stated categorically that he'd kill people if she made him go but, somehow, here they all were.
Emma and Claire sat side by side with Peter at one end of the table and Angela at the other. Sylar sat across from Emma and Mrs. Coolidge sat by his side.
The table was laden with all the good food that Angela hadn't cooked and the odd family sat in awkward silence. Sylar wondered if it was possible to pretend to choke on a bread-stick and get excused; he eyed the grissini and tried to gauge how much it would hut to insert one in his eye. From the looks of her, Claire was wondering the same thing and they shared a commiserating look with each other.
Angela looked over at her youngest and only surviving son. “Peter, perhaps you'd like to say grace?”
“Uh,” his eyes widened. “Mom, I don't think-”
Her tone was decidedly less than warm and he sagged and briefly offered thanks for family and food.
“There,” Angela said, “was that so hard? It takes nothing to thank the Good Lord for the gift's he's given us.”
“I thought we evolved like this,” Sylar said, tongue in cheek as Angela reddened.
“So many sorts of creature all evolving simultaneously. Spontaneously? And aardvark and an antelope evolving out of the same primordial ooze? Don't be absurd, dear.”
Sylar opened his mouth but was swiftly kicked by Peter.
“Don't start!” he mouthed and Sylar looked down.
It was so easy to annoy Angela Petrelli and so much fun and, truth be told, it was only when he was taunting her that he could resist the urge to slash her throat.
Peter had hit him and stapled his hands with a gun and he had forgiven him. Mohinder had shot him repeatedly and tried to poison him on more than one occasion and they were sort of friends now. Matt had imprisoned him and all was fine and dandy. Mother Petrelli had lied to him. She had given him a family and then cruelly ripped it away. She had told him that he was her little boy, she had made him want her to be proud of him and then destroyed his hopes of a family.
There were some things that it was just too hard to forgive and he found that, although his hate had diminished, he couldn't stand to be in the same room with the woman for long before his hands itched to go around her throat.
If he ever decided to go evil again, he'd once mused, she was first on his list. Only slightly beating Noah Bennett. And Jim Carey, but for different reasons.
Sylar sighed as he sipped his soup. It was some sort of expensive thing that Angela had insisted was all the rage. Octopus and fried placenta or something equally gross. He decided to wait for the main course and dropped his spoon. It landed in the bowl with a clunk instead of a splash. He'd made the right choice.
“So, Emma, how are things progressing with the wedding?” Angela asked, only slightly patronizingly.
There was silence from the other end of the table until Peter touched his fiancee's hand. She glanced up from where she had been examining her soup with a fascinated expression and blinked at him.
“Mom asked you how the wedding stuff is going.”
“Good,” she said and put her spoon down as she answered with her hands. “Claire has been helping lots with the preparation. The invitations go out soon. Peter booked the venue yesterday.”
“Peter booked it?” Angela's brows were arched high. “Why is that, dear?”
Something about her tone sent a warning through Sylar and he looked up, pinning her with a look. A look she ignored.
“It's my wedding too,” Peter's tone as rife with warning. “Why shouldn't I book it?”
Angela waved her hand. “No need to sound so petulant, Peter. Only in my day men weren't generally involved much in the wedding preparations.”
“Well, Uncle Peter's nothing if not progressive,” Claire said loyally. “I think it's a shame that the most important day of their lives gets left to the bride to deal with. Maybe the day would mean more to guys if they had a hand in it and there would be less of a divorce rate.”
Her comments left the table in that uncomfortable silence again for a moment. Emma gave her a grateful look and Claire smiled at her.
But Emma was staring to look frazzled and Sylar noted that she dived for her wine glass.
He seemed to recall one 'family' meal when Nathan was alive. He'd thought that Heidi had been a drunk, turns out there was a reason for that. Anyone who aspires to the Petrelli clan needs to be able to either hold their own or hold their liquor.
“So where did you book, Peter?” Louise asked.
Peter swallowed his mouthful and smiled. “We're getting married in Central Park. Since me and Emma really met in Central Park, it seemed like the best choice.” He touched Emma's hand and she smiled.
“I know it's a common choice, but it really just fits us,” he added, kissing her fingertips. “And then the reception at the Boathouse.”
Angela pursed her lips. “I see. It's not very big, is it?”
Peter shrugged. “Seats about 200 which is more than enough. It's just a small wedding after all.”
Emma stiffened and purposely didn't look over at Angela. Sylar hid a grin. He had seen the torn up guest list and privately saluted Claire for her dramatic flair.
“I would have thought, if you'd preferred a more...typical location then Gotham Hall would have been more appropriate.”
“Why?” Sylar grinned. “Because Batman is also a super-hero?”
Claire choked on her bread stick.
Angela wasn't amused. “You can seat up to 1200 there.”
“You can also seat more than two thousand in Josephville which was my second choice,” Peter said blithely. “Only we wanted to invite some old friends from the hospital and we think they'd be a little uncomfortable since they don't know about us specials and some might give it away.”
“Mikey hasn't got the hang of not levitating yet,” Sylar agreed. “Might upset a few people if we have to stop the service to get a kid down from the roof.”
Claire covered her mouth, her shoulders shaking.
“Or the blue kid,” Peter pointed out.
Sylar nodded, not sure which he was enjoying more, the unattractive red flush that Angela had going over her face or the adorable giggles that were emanating from Claire.
Before she could say anything, however, the doors opened and the main course was served. Angela seethed in silence as plates were put in front of each guest and drinks were refilled.
She waited until the servers vanished back into the bowels of the house before she took a deep breath. “I'm not sure I appreciate your levity here, Peter. This is a very important occasion.”
Sylar could see Peter trying to reign in his temper and poor Emma looked like she was about to cry. Claire was sawing at her meat and spearing roast potatoes like they were personal enemies of hers.
They were all trying so hard to play happy families and keep the peace but he could see that it was upsetting them.
And no one upset Peter.
“Yes it is an important occasion,” Sylar said smoothly, “for Peter and Emma. As mother of the groom I'm still at a loss to see what business it is of yours what they do. ”
Angela forgot herself enough to glare at him. “I can't expect you to understand, Sylar. As an extended member of my family you'll have to realize eventually that anything a Petrelli does is subject to intense scrutiny. A wedding is more than a joining of two people, it's a obligation to those who've helped and an opportunity to those you want to help you. As you are all trying to put together a company to 'help' those with special abilities it might be in your best interests to cater to some of those who could help you in your endeavor.”
“Tell me this,” Sylar said as he sliced his meat, “is there any point, ever, when you stop plotting? Sleep, shower? Bathroom breaks? Or are you planning world domination on the porcelain throne?”
She smiled thinly. “Toilet humor is not appreciated here, Gabriel.”
“Sylar.” His grip tightened on his knife. “And I can say that what is not being appreciated is-”
“Sylar,” Peter broke in with a shake of his head.
“No, Peter, let Sylar say what he wants to.” Angela reached for her glass of wine. “After all, as you are so fond of telling me, he's family too.”
Sylar looked at Peter who swallowed hard. He put down his knife and fork.
“Can we stop it?” Claire suddenly interjected. “This is a great meal and all this stuff is ruining it. Okay, if I wanted indigestion I'd go to dinner with my dad and mom's boyfriend. Angela,” Claire took a deep breath, “Emma and Peter appreciate that you only want to help, but what they want is very different to what you want and if you don't stop pushing you're going to upset them. You've already lost one son. Do you really want Peter to never speak to you again? Because I guarantee if you keep upsetting Emma, that is what is gonna happen.”
All eyes were on Claire as she leaned forward intently. “This was supposed to be a nice family meal and so far all we've done is argue. How about we let Louise tell us about herself, since we're going to be family. Maybe tell us all about Emma growing up and then during dessert Angela and Louise can tell us about their wedding days. Can we just be normal for five minutes, please?”
Even if he had still been evil there was no way that Sylar could have denied those eyes. She looked close to tears and, even though he knew that she was just trying to change the subject, he could no more have denied her than he could stop the world spinning.
He closed his mouth and finished his vegetables.
“That is a lovely idea, sweetheart,” Louise said, patting Claire on the hand. “What do you think, Angela.”
There was no way that Angela could deny that without looking the evil witch and she knew enough when to withdraw from the field. She nodded at Claire and reached for her glass.
There was an awkward moment, a minute where tempers had to shift and the appropriate topics decided upon.
Sylar took a deep breath and made the first move. “So, Louise, what made you want to be a doctor? I know why Pete wanted to be a hospice nurse and a paramedic but what about you?”
The white-haired lady smiled softly at him. “Well, my parents were both music teachers, they claimed that music healed. My brother became a folk singer but I always thought they were too wishy-washy. I figured that I'd show them how healing was really done so, really,” she gave them a sheepish look, “I wanted to be a doctor to prove my parents wrong. Of course it turns out that they were far more right than they knew.” She touched her daughter's hand. “I've seen Emma's gift in action, calling to people, comforting people and I'm glad I was wrong. But while she can heal their hearts and souls, it's nice to know that there's someone with a band aid for those slightly more obvious wound.”
Claire gave a little laugh. “I think that's the most honest reason for doing anything.”
“To annoy your parents?” Louise nodded and placed her cutlery down. “I think most of us would agree. Right Peter?”
He gave her his lop-side smile. “Certainly why I didn't become a lawyer.”
Angela drew in a breath. “But then there's the other side of the coin. Those who want to impress their parents by becoming them.”
Sylar stiffened. He knew what she was getting at. She was taunting him, telling him that he was like Samson Gray, a useless parasitic leech who'd kill for pleasure and destroy all those around him, finally dying alone and unloved. His face flushed and his fingertips crackles with energy.
“God, I hope not,” Claire said sweetly. “I'd hate to become my dad, those rimmed glasses wouldn't suit me, although they might make me look more intelligent. Not that I'll ever need glasses, but I think I could carry them off. What do you think, Sylar?”
He glanced over at her, his temper barely hanging by a thread. But it worked. She smiled at him and he found himself smiling back.
“Yeah,” he said, “you could carry them off.”
“Unless we're talking bio-dad,” she babbled, “Nathan never wore glasses, right?”
“No, Nate was too vain to wear glasses,” Peter said, picking up where she dropped the conversation.
Around him Emma, Claire and Peter started a very odd conversation about faking intelligence and being blonde and he listened with only half an ear allowing himself time to cool down.
Angela Petrelli was going to be the death of him, or he was going to kill her; one way or the other.
When Peter had first told everyone that Sylar was good now and going to live with him, Angela had been less than delighted but had, as usual, tried to find a way to work out in her favor.
She'd tried to wrap Sylar around her little finger, working on those same mommy issues that had worked before. But this time he was wise to her machinations and refused to allow her to manipulate him.
In short order she'd gone from cajoling potential mother figure to cynical plotting manipulative bitch, not that it was a huge leap, to be honest.
But her lies and schemes would not work on him, he just had to keep his wits and his temper whenever he was around her.
Easier said than done.
And easier when he had people willing to step in front of him like Peter... and Claire it seemed.
Twice now this evening she had stopped him from saying or doing something that he'd, if not regret, then at least have to apologize for and he was grateful in the extreme.
If he wasn't already in love with her then this would have cemented her place in his heart and, as desserts came out, he wondered if there was possibly any way that she could ever love him back.